Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Every Breath I Take by Guest Blogger Sandi Rog

This Tuesday begins my regiment for the transplant. Today, I'll get a new port put in my chest. "Joy." I've had a pick line in my arm, but that won't be enough, so . . . yeah. Starting on Wednesday, I'll be getting full body radiation for three days, which I hear is worse than chemo, yikes. Then the next two days will be extreme chemo. On the 23rd, I'll get a break, and on the morning of the 24th, I'll get the bone marrow transplant. Then we wait.


As the days for this draw near, I find myself hyperventilating. I've always had this problem. It's not the kind of hyperventilating that can be fixed by putting a brown bag over my mouth. It's apparently called "hyperventilation syndrome." If you google it, you can read more about it. Point is, the closer the day comes, the more dizzy I get. I already fight vertigo because of the stupid MS. Well, now my nervousness makes me dizzy too! I'm just meant to be dizzy! ARG.

Anyway... I try not to dwell on that mess, otherwise I'd go nuts. That's biblical, you know. Where is it? Philippines 4:8.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I like that word: DWELL. You know, with all the crap that's happened to me over the years, I believe I could literally go insane if that's all I thought about. Think about it. (No pun intended, lol.) We become what we think about. I could dwell on all the abuse I've suffered and really feel miserable. Or I could focus on God and His love and what He's done for me in my life and be happy. Personally, I hate feeling miserable, so that's one of the reasons I try to focus on the positive. I'm hardly perfect at it, and I'm certainly no Job and have sinned with my lips and even yelled at God. So yes, I've had my negative moments. But God has gotten me through them. I certainly don't deserve His help, but He gives it to me anyway.

Now, speaking of "dwelling," or where I "focus" my mind, there's something positive I need to share with you about my dad. I've shared plenty of negative about him, and although he's caused me and others A LOT of grief, I also know I'm a better person because of him for many reasons. You see, he did something for me when I was a child that's CARRIED me through all the health mess I've been facing.

When I was about five, he took me to a check-up where I had to get a shot. Well, before the shot, he asked the doc/nurse to let him have a moment of private time with me to prepare me for this shot. (I'd had plenty of shots when Mom would bring me to the doc's, but this was the first time I remember Dad taking me. I never caused a ruckus, so I didn't really understand why he felt he had to talk to me about it, but now I know, and I believe God used that moment for me TODAY.) Dad sat with me and told me in detail how if I just relax during this shot, it won't hurt as badly. He said, it will hurt, but I just need to focus/dwell/concentrate on relaxing my body. He took a whole five minutes to explain this to me. :-)

Well, with all the MRI's, the radiations where I've had to wear a tight mask (I'm claustrophobic), and the pet scans and other tests, the many shots and having a pick-line in my arm, not to mention the upcoming port they're going to put in my chest . . . I've really had to concentrate on RELAXING my body. It's not easy because I'm a very uptight person. But my mind constantly flashes back to that five minutes my dad took in the doctor's office to tell me that all I needed to do was relax and it wouldn't hurt as badly. Not only does relaxing make it not hurt as badly, but it also makes these tests get done much faster. After all, if I were to panic, we'd have to stop and start again, stop and start again. I can't tell you how often I've wanted to stop and NOT start again, but I really didn't want to prolong the inevitable. Nor did I want to have drugs to knock me out because it takes days for that mess to get out of my body. Anyway, God used my dad at that time to help me NOW. Isn't that amazing? Thank You, God.

So . . . back to breathing. Or "hyperventilating." I don't know why I hyperventilate. I do it without even realizing it. What makes me realize it is I get dizzy. Ha! Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about breathing lately. I know. Weird.

You see, I watched my grandpa die. While he was on his death bed, all he could do was BREATHE. He could barely utter one word at a time, and it took all he had to suck in a breath. I've felt that way numerous times during all this mess. Only difference is, nothing can stop me from talking. But that's a another story. Anyway . . . I always wondered what made my grandpa stop breathing? Was it that he just didn't have the strength anymore? He died after he saw my mom. He'd requested to see her, and she came. After she left, he died. He loved my mom. She was very special to him. She was a hard worker, and he liked hard workers. All I know is, he stopped breathing after he saw her. We'd walked out of the room and took her to her car. When we walked back into the house, Grandpa was gone. He'd finally taken his last breath.

My thoughts about breathing of course involve God. I believe if God knows the number of hairs we have on our head (Matt. 10:30), which I could care less about, then He also knows every breath we take. And He knows my every breath. And . . . He knows how many I have left. It also means . . . He's VERY CLOSE. Imagine how it is when you go to kiss someone. Sometimes our breaths intermingle. Imagine being that close to God! Wouldn't it be wonderful to KISS HIM? I mean like a parent kisses a child. I love kissing my babies. I don't care how big they get. I'm sure He'd love to kiss us too.

Acts 17:27-28 says: God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

In a previous post I asked: why, oh why, does my heart become heavy when I feel like fighting for my will?

As I was reading through that post, the answer hit me. It's because I'm not putting God first. It's like Abraham when God asked him to offer up Isaac. Isaac was his son! The boy was precious to him and held all his hopes and dreams for the future. But would Abraham be willing to let go of all he held dear for his God? He was willing, and then God gave the boy back to him. But you know after that moment, Abraham knew God was first and foremost in his life. God came before his son, his precious child. God reigned in Abraham's heart. Well, He needs to reign in mine as well. He needs to reign above my children (they are the reason I want so badly to LIVE) and above my life. I need to love God more than life itself. My will needs to be set aside for that of my heavenly Father's.

I have to say, it's a lot less stressful putting everything in God's hands. After all, He knows what's BEST. Doing this means I'm not fighting and worrying about my will. I'm just letting go and letting God. I'm in His hands. I know. I've said that a billion times. But instead of standing in His hands with MY hands on my hips and arguing with Him and trying to convince Him of what I think is best, I'm going to lie down on His loving palms, and TRUST in Him to perform His will in my life. That's what I HAVE to do, otherwise, I won't be able to RELAX.

I must TRUST in Him, TRUST that He's aware of every breath I take.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”


Lisa Harris said...

Thank you for sharing your very honest and moving words that struck my heart today. Praying for you and for His peace--a peace that passes all understanding--in the days to come.

Mary Johnson said...

Sandi, Thanks for including us in your struggles and your overcoming. I've prayed for your healing and for a pervasive calm as you face these challenges. May your faith make you well and may you testify to many regarding your healing!

Melissa K Norris said...


How wonderful you are using your hardship to be a testimony to others. It's so easy to fall in to the negative trap, but we do have the power to change our way of thinking with the Lord. And it's amazing how our mood follows.

May the Lord be with you through this time.

jennifer said...

You are an amazing woman. Your faith and authenticity is strengthening the faith of countless others. You have such courage and transparency to share your WHOLE heart--struggles, fears, and tender moments with God. There is nothing more powerful than an authentic journey of faith story! Blessings and may the Father hold you close to His heart and surround you in His love.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I love your dad for showing his affection for you in this way. How like our Other Father, to take time for a little girl, so she won't be afraid.

That little girl in you must feel very helpless during this mess. But the woman of God He's formed in you is strong, overcoming, soaring on His eagle wings of mercy and healing. He will carry you. He will help you. He is mighty in you to save.

I love you. I'm praying for a long life and a victorious testimony.